May 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Jordan Rejects Hosting Hamas as Pressure Rises on Qatar

May 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Jordan Rejects Hosting Hamas as Pressure Rises on Qatar

Latest Developments

A senior Jordanian diplomat on May 2 firmly rejected the suggestion that Hamas could move its political bureau to Jordan if it were forced to leave its current base in Qatar. “Hamas behaves as if there’s no state and no authority in Jordan that will decide and determine how to act and how to conduct itself,” Israel’s Ynet cited veteran Jordanian diplomat Ziad Majali saying. “Jordan has closed the book on Palestinian cells — and we do not intend to reopen it.” Majali’s statement comes after an April 29 Iranian TV interview with Hamas deputy political chief Mousa Abu Marzouk, who said, “If Qatar decides to remove us, we’ll move to Jordan.” Marzouk added that many of the organization’s officials hold Jordanian passports and residency visas.

As Qatari-led hostage negotiations between Hamas and Israel drag on with no breakthrough, Qatar is facing increasing international pressure to cut ties with the Iran-backed terrorist organization. On April 18, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that Qatar is reviewing its role as a mediator in the conflict, citing harsh criticism of its efforts from Israel and the United States. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 22 that Hamas officials had begun looking for new locations to establish their headquarters.

Expert Analysis

“Any government that provides safe harbor or support to Hamas should face maximum consequences. Jordan rightly rejected Qatar’s request to host Hamas in 2012, and it certainly doesn’t want any part of this U.S.-designated terror organization today.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Qatar knows that finding Hamas a new home will be a hard sell. Even Turkey said no. This is evidence that many regimes use Gaza as a populist pitch, but when push comes to shove, no one is ready to put their money where their mouth is. The only solution for Hamas is to surrender and disband itself.” Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow

Jordan’s Relationship With Hamas

Jordan officially banned Hamas and expelled its leaders in 1999. While Jordan’s King Abdullah II has been highly critical of Israel’s actions in the Gaza war, the Jordanian Air Force joined the U.S.-led coalition to help repel Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel between April 13 and 14. Jordan has been the site of numerous anti-Israel demonstrations, with a senior Jordanian security source telling Ynet that some of the arrested protesters revealed that Hamas’s leadership coordinates and funds the demonstrations.

Qatar’s Support For Hamas

Qatar sided with Hamas and endorsed its takeover of Gaza in 2007. Since then, Doha has provided political and financial assistance to the Islamist group, pumping an estimated $1.5 billion into Gaza’s Hamas-run government between 2012 and 2021. Hamas also maintains a political office in Doha, where several of the group’s senior leaders live in luxury. Qatar’s state-sponsored media channel, Al Jazeera, has justified Palestinian terrorism, spread antisemitism, and demonized Israel with its global reach.

Congress Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Pressure Qatar

On May 1, Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Jared Golden (D-ME) introduced the bipartisan Reviewing Qatar’s Major Non-NATO Ally Status Act, with a companion bill that was introduced in the Senate on April 10 by Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC). If enacted, the bill would force the secretary of state to review the U.S.-Qatari relationship by certifying that Qatar exerts pressure on Hamas to release Israeli and American hostages. Doha would also need to halt directly or indirectly supporting Hamas and agree to extradite to the United States any individuals determined to be members of Hamas, including Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh, deputy political chief Khalil al-Hayya, and former chief Khaled Mashal. If Qatar fails to meet the guidelines, the legislation will direct the State Department to terminate Qatar’s major non-NATO ally status. 

10 Things to Know About Hamas and Qatar,” FDD Insight

Qatar Reevaluates Role as Hamas Mediator,” FDD Flash Brief

Sidestepping Tensions With Israel, Jordan Helps Repel Iran With U.S.-Led Coalition,” FDD Flash Brief

Qatar Not an Honest Broker, New Report Concludes,” FDD Flash Brief


Arab Politics Gulf States Israel Israel at War Jordan